A First Responders’ Pride Party focused their fundraising on helping colleagues mental wellness.
On Saturday September 26, members of the LGBTQ-ISN met at the front of 51 Division to present a cheque for $10,000 to Toronto Beyond the Blue (TBTB) – a volunteer organization that supports police families.
The funds come in part from the annual First Responder’s Pride Party, organized by the LGBTQ-ISN, and supported last year by the Toronto Professional Firefighter’s Association, Toronto Police Association, Toronto Paramedic’s Association, and Toronto Senior Officer’s Organization.
Constable Robert Chevalier, the LGBTQ-ISN Co-Chair said the money raised through their annual event is usually donated to local LGBTQ2S charities but this year the team wanted to reach out to charities that help First Responders.
“This represents the last of $20,000 in checks handed out by us to support three agencies focused on the mental health of First Responders, the other two being I’veGotYourBack911 and Wounded Warriors,” Chevalier said.
Superintendent Moreira of 51 Division said TBTB is a very personal charity for 51 Division members.
“It was a particular honour to do this presentation to Dilnaz Garda, on behalf of Toronto Beyond the Blue, here at 51 Division. We all carry with us the memories of our fallen brother Constable Darius Garda, and we appreciate the hard work done by Dilnaz to promote the good mental health of Toronto police officers,” Moreira said.
Darius Garda died by suicide in 2016 as he was dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental health issues.
The LGBTQ-ISN also presented a check for $1,000 to retired Const. Patty Retsinas on behalf of Coming Out Cops, a documentary about the lives of LGBTQ2S police officers, currently in production.
“The LGBTQ-ISN thanks everyone who sponsored and participated in their events in 2019-2020 and looks forward to the end of COVID-19 when we can meet, celebrate, and raise funds for our communities once again,” said Chevalier.